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Saskatchewan's ranches, history & scenery self-drive

15 days from £3,410pp

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Tour highlights

  • Explore the rich fossil fields at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • See plains bison and Canada's prairie landscapes in Grasslands National Park.

  • See where the 'Mounties' are trained, discover vibrant Saskatoon, then saddle up for a few days on a ranch. .

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international flights
  • Fully insured vehicle hire
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Calgary. Arrive in Calgary. Transfer to your hotel to relax after your flight.

  • Collect your hire car and drive through eastern Alberta into the beautiful prairie province of Saskatchewan. You may wish to stop at Dinosaur Provincial Park en route; it’s one of the world’s richest fossil fields and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Arrive at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, your base for the next two nights.

    Stay at The Resort at Cypress Hills   
  • There is plenty to see and do in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, with excellent hiking trails, canoeing, fishing and swimming in the lakes. These never-glaciated hills have a rich geological history and, with a mix of forests, wetlands and grasslands, are home to a wide diversity of plants and animals; over 220 bird species and 47 mammal species have been recorded. Two outstanding features of the park are Horseshoe Canyon and Reesor viewpoints which offer views of rolling hills, coulees and flat prairie landscapes for more than 100 km (62 miles). You can also visit historic Fort Walsh, home to the Northwest Mounted Police (the forerunners of the Mounties) in the 1870s.

    Stay at The Resort at Cypress Hills   
  • Drive southeast to Grasslands National Park, Canada's only park that protects one of the last intact grasslands of the original North American prairie. Before the arrival of western settlers much of central North America looked like this. There are plenty of ways for you to explore, including walks and horse-rides through the prairie landscape. Wildlife is a highlight here and in 2005 the park successfully reintroduced prairie (or plains) bison. It is an unforgettable experience to see these magnificent animals in their original habitat.

  • The park is divided into two blocks – east and west – and each offers a paved scenic highway for you to explore from. There are plenty of opportunities to get out for a walk, spot wildlife and learn about the park at the interpretive stops. Other than bison, keep a look-out for prairie dogs, rattlesnakes and short-horned lizards, especially in the west block’s Frenchman River Valley. The east block’s badlands scenery is a photographer’s delight. The whole national park is also a dark sky preserve.

  • Drive to the small town of Moose Jaw, about 80 km (50 miles) west of the provincial capital, Regina. There is time this afternoon to explore the town’s historic buildings, huge murals and many independent shops. Take a trip back in time at the Tunnels of Moose Jaw's past. This is where Al Capone operated excessive bootlegging during the time of Prohibition. Today, the 1920s gangster feeling is brought back to life in 50-minute-long interactive tours. Let yourself be taken into the catacombs and corridors beneath the streets of Moose Jaw and experience the historical events through the theatrical performance of your guides.

  • Spend the day exploring Regina, Saskatchewan’s capital, and home to Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police. More than 1,000 young ‘Mounties’ cadets complete their basic training here every year. You can learn all about this legendary police force, using state-of-the-art technology, at the RCMP Heritage Centre. Visit the museum's exhibit halls, tour the Depot Division or the historic RCMP Chapel, Regina's oldest building, on the RCMP Academy grounds. There are also plenty of spectacles in the parade of cadets during the summer months as part of the once-weekly Sunset Retreat Ceremony or the Sergeant Major's Parade, which takes place every week day.

  • Drive to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan's largest metropolis. Seven bridges span the South Saskatchewan River, which meanders through the city. There is plenty to see and do, including visiting the Remai Modern Art Gallery of Saskatchewan, visiting the city’s excellent Farmer’s Market, and Wanuskewin Heritage Park which explains the province’s significant aboriginal heritage. In the evening you can enjoy the sunset while strolling along the river promenade before sampling a drink or two in some of the city’s many local breweries and distilleries.

    Stay at Hilton Garden Inn   
  • You could start your day with a relaxing boat trip on the South Saskatchewan River and then stroll through the historic streets of Broadway and Riversdale to savour their local charm. For a taste of prairie history, head to the Western Development Museum where a complete Western town from 1920 has been recreated. Visitors get authentic insights into the life of the early settlers.

    Stay at Hilton Garden Inn   
  • Today's journey takes you through the geographical heart of North America. Along the Trans Canada Highway you will pass endless cornfields - the original prairie gave way to wheat here on a massive scale. Your destination is Lake Diefenbaker, set in a landscape of rolling prairies. Idyllic and completely secluded is La Reata Ranch. Your host George will introduce you to the cowboy way of life.

  • Suitable for beginners and experienced riders alike, La Reata Ranch offers horse rides through the open prairie landscape, over the rolling River Hills with their many canyons, and across the gently sloping sandy beaches of Lake Diefenbaker. This is a working ranch, which means helping out is encouraged, but not a must. The ranch has over 14 km (8.6 miles) of lakeshore, including swimming beaches. Canoeing, fishing, water skiing or swimming in the sparkling lake provide varied recreation after your horse rides. In the evening you can gaze at the starry sky of the prairie from the hot tub or talk about the experiences of the day in the La Reata Saloon.

  • Spend another day at La Reata Ranch, you may wish to go horse riding, walking, swimming in the lake, help with some ranch chores or simply relax in the hot tub.

  • Your route today takes you west, to Drumheller back in Alberta. The town lies on the Red Deer River in a region known as Alberta’s ‘Badlands’, so-called for its unusual lunar-like landscape.

  • There are well-signposted circular driving routes through this scenic landscape from Drumheller. Highlights include delightful scenic views, hoodoo rock formations, and lovely river landscapes that are home to migratory birds. An unmissable highlight is the excellent Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology which interprets the fascinating dinosaur heritage of the region. Their Dinosaur Hall has one of the world's largest displays of dinosaur remains.

  • Drive back to Calgary to drop off your hire car at the end of your trip. Your return flight will arrive the same day.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Calgary
 

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